New rating scheme launched on tattoo hygiene standards in Plymouth

A new scheme aimed at driving up tattoo hygiene standards in Plymouth has been officially launched.

The Tattoo Hygiene Rating Scheme (THRS) is a voluntary scheme that enables the public to choose a tattooist that meets high standards of hygiene. Similar to the food hygiene rating scheme, following a local authority inspection each tattoo studio is awarded a rating from one star, which means needing improvement, to four stars, which means very good. 

Councillor Philippa Davey, Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities said: “The aim of the Tattoo Hygiene Rating Scheme is to drive up standards in the tattoo industry. We are obviously delighted that the trade has recognised that and has embraced the scheme.’ 

“We’re really pleased that Ewen McClelland of Buckwell Street Tattoo’s has decided to sign up to the scheme and we know he’s worked hard to make sure he achieved the top rating of four, and he can be justifiably proud of what he has achieved.  I hope that many more tattooists will follow in his lead.”

Cllr Davey decided to get herself some new ink.

Cllr Davey decided to get herself some new ink.

The new rating system is based on good practice and goes beyond the legal requirements. The Council can remove the award should conditions in the premises fall below that necessary to maintain the rating.

Successful premises receive a Tattoo Hygiene Rating Scheme certificate and a window sticker to display for members of the public to see and their details are available on the council’s website.

Mr Ewen McClelland of Buckwell Street Tattoo’s said: “I think this is an excellent scheme for the trade and I am pleased to be the first tattooist to have signed up.  It has given tattooists a set of standards we can all work to.  Before the introduction of the CIEH Tattooing and Body Piercing Toolkit and the rating scheme, the standard of hygiene depended on who had taught you.

The Tattoo Hygiene Rating Scheme, which was initially piloted in Wales is now being taken up by local authorities around the country. It follows research showing that 93 per cent of customers considering having a tattoo would be influenced by a rating scheme and 80 per cent of tattoo studio operators interviewed considered it would be good for businesses. There is a fee of £40 per year to be members of the scheme.


Tattooists surveyed felt hygiene ratings would give recognition to well-run parlours while driving out unregistered and unsafe practitioners who often operate from home, known in the trade as ‘scratchers’.

Trade bodies such as the British Tattoo Artists Federation and the Tattoo and Piercing Industry Union had expressed support for introducing a rating scheme.

If any businesses are interested in joining the scheme, please contact 01752 304147 or visit our